Congressman Bobby Rush

Representing the 1st District of Illinois
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“Trump’s Speech Was… Campaign Promises on Steroids” and, Chicago Needs Solutions Not Rhetoric

Mar 1, 2017
Press Release
U.S. Rep. Rush Challenges President to Visit Chicago After More Misguided Comments

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) wasted no time in inviting President Donald Trump to Chicago as the president made his way to the lectern for his first speech before a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday night. The legislator said the nation’s chief executive agreed to visit the city which has been under a national spotlight after Trump threatened to “send in the feds” to curb violence.

Rush’s invitation came moments before Trump gave his first speech before a Joint Session of Congress where the Republican detailed a series of administrative objectives that would harm America’s most vulnerable citizens and set the country on a dangerous path. The president also assailed Chicago’s shooting rate by erroneously stating the current level had already surpassed last year’s numbers.

“Trump’s speech was nothing more than campaign promises on steroids — and what he said about Chicago is wrong and a bunch of rhetoric,” Rush said. “Four thousand people haven’t been shot in the first two months of this year; but even if one person in our city is the victim of this reckless gun violence we need solutions, not more propaganda. I invited him to Chicago so he can talk to leaders, citizens and people who are working to reduce violence — but also to understand the other side of this story, and that’s poverty, joblessness and a lack of access to mental health and social services.

“Trump’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act will render 20 million Americans without access to health care. His attacks on immigrants will only escalate the already growing level of bigotry sweeping the nation. His war on deregulation is really a smokescreen to turn his back on public safety. We should not remove safeguards that oversee protections for the environment, food and drugs, technology and the like,” Rush said.

The Democrat also noted the address was “more propaganda and less process,” adding, “He speaks in broad generalities and gives very few specifics,” Rush continued. “He’s good at telling us the what but never the how. He talked about violence but never talked about the easy access to guns. He talked about the killings but didn’t mention straw purchases.

Rush said one solution is the passage of H.R. 810 the “Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2017,” which he introduced in February. The bill seeks to increase public safety by punishing and deterring firearms trafficking. Specifically, it prohibits, with respect to two or more firearms, the transfer to or receipt by a prohibited person or a person who plans a subsequent transfer that results in unlawful use, possession, or disposition of such firearms; providing false statements in connection with the purchase, receipt, or acquisition of such firearms; and directing, promoting, or facilitating such prohibited conduct.

Rush also spoke to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and asked him to not only reopen the Emmett Till murder case, in light of new information, but also, reverse his decision to possibly table a U.S. Justice Department report on reforms needed in the Chicago Police Department (CPD).

In an effort to bring more accountability to police departments across the country Rush introduced H.R. 1213, the “Laquan McDonald Camera Act of 2017” which requires, as a condition on the receipt of federal funds, that law enforcement agencies to have in effect a policy regarding the use of body-worn and dashboard cameras.

The legislation is named for a 17-year-old youth whose October 2014 killing by a Chicago police officer stunned the city launched a federal investigation of CPD’s training and policies. Dashboard cameras on the night of the incident were disabled or not working properly. The bill seeks to penalize any law enforcement agency not in compliance by stripping them of 10 percent of federal funding unless certification is provided to the Attorney General that policies are in place and are being enforced.

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